The Dim-Post

February 23, 2011

Actively seeking work makes you free: the Welfare Working Group considered

Filed under: economics — danylmc @ 9:09 am

The basic idea of the WWG is this: all the different benefits – Unemployment, Sickness, Invalids, the DPB ect – are scrapped and combined into a Jobseekers Benefit, so named because all the recipients of this single benefit will be active Jobseekers, and the role of the welfare system will be to get them back into work as quickly as possible.

  • The WWG does accept that a small number of beneficiaries, namely the terminally ill and those caring for disabled children, may need to exist on a benefit for some time, and not be actively seeking work.
  • The Jobseekers benefit will be set at the rate of the unemployment benefit – because that’s what all these people are: unemployed. They’ll be paid supplementary payments based on circumstance, ie Jobseekers with children will receive additional funding to care for their children.
  • Female Jobseekers are strongly encouraged not to have additional children. They will have contraception options made available to them and be expected to return to work four months after the birth of an additional child. If Jobseekers continue to have children they should be subject to financial penalties. The WWG suggests those additional children not receive financial support.
  • The WWG suggests that after a six month period Jobseekers who continue to receive a benefit be subject to sanctions and a ‘Work for Welfare’ program, ie a compulsory job scheme.
  • Jobseekers be subject to drug and alcohol testing, and be obligated to pass these tests.
  • Failure of Jobseekers to meet the obligations of the system will be punished with incremental decreases in payment, resulting in minimum two week stand-down periods in which they do not receive a benefit.
  • Oh, here’s something to get Family First riled up – the WWG seems to support the anti-smacking legislation and proposes the introduction of a new criminal offence called ‘failing to protect a child’ (refusing to call the police on your neighbours).
  • Jobseeking should be facilitated through contractors that are financially incentivised to find ‘positive outcomes’.

I haven’t read through each section of the report – but what it doesn’t seem to contain is a recognition that the number of beneficiaries is tied to wider economic factors like, oh, say, the unemployment rate or the performance of the economy – the problem is all about benefit dependency and the inadequacy of the current welfare system. The WWG does include this graph:

You could write a whole book on economics, social welfare and recent New Zealand history based on this graph, and it would be hard not to arrive at the opposite conclusions to those ones that the WWG reached.


  1. so much for the argument that the drop in unemployment benefits was merely people being moved to the invalids benefit!

    and that’contraception options’ bit worries me. i know they have subsidised vasectomy already, but… where’s that going?

    Comment by che tibby — February 23, 2011 @ 9:25 am

  2. Give them all wheelbarrows and pickaxes and set them working on the roads.
    We need more roads because the rich folk have bigger cars these days.
    This will ensure that they (the poor) will aspire to be rich,
    which kicks in the ‘trickle up’ effect (ie some of them will make it, maybe eight of them).

    Comment by Roger Parkinson — February 23, 2011 @ 9:52 am

  3. If Jobseekers continue to have children they should be subject to financial penalties. The WWG suggests those additional children not receive financial support.

    This is the thing that absolutely outrages me (besides the stupidity of calling people with long term seriously debilitating illness “Jobseekers”) – active coercion against the absolute core genetic imperative for people that receive welfare support from society. It blows my mind that it can even be considered – and no, arguments that they should learn to control themselves if they can’t “afford” the 2 kids they already have don’t sway that in the slightest.

    Comment by garethw — February 23, 2011 @ 9:54 am

  4. This all just makes me cranky. I know there must be people out there that abuse the system, but the only person I know on unemployment is my mother in law. And she is hardly a bludger. She raised three children, who are contributing large piles of tax to the government coffers these days. And she worked herself for many years, until getting laid off last year, in her 60’s. The whole process is an indignity already – transferring her to branches she can’t get to on the bus, cutting off her benefit when she went overseas for family reasons for a week. I guess the only bonus for her out of this new set of indigities is that she is a bit old to be asked about her contraceptive needs.

    Comment by theopinioniser — February 23, 2011 @ 10:00 am

  5. “Female Jobseekers are strongly encouraged not to have additional children. They will have contraception options made available…”

    I had to read this again just to check it was not some sick joke or something. The more I read about the WWG report the more disturbed I get.

    Comment by K2 — February 23, 2011 @ 10:02 am

  6. They claim contraception is being made more accessible, which in itself isn’t a bad thing. But at heart they want to state-sanction it, and that’s only going to open up a can of worms.

    Comment by DeepRed — February 23, 2011 @ 10:17 am

  7. Given the huge costs of the Christchurch earthquake and unemployment figures, I wonder just how realistic it will be to implement these “reforms in the short or medium term?
    Jobseekers: Weren’t the various categories designed over the years to cater for the very different needs of groups? The fashion changes. (A bit like decentralising followed by centralising. DHB and BOTs.)

    Comment by ianmac — February 23, 2011 @ 10:21 am

  8. Apart from the sheer asshattery of the people who wrote this, my fear is that the disaster down south is going to make this an excuse around “necessary savings to fund reconstruction” a viable political move in the short term. Never mind that the flipside of chch is going to be more need for exactly what they’re making harder to get.
    At least people whose workplace just collapsed aren’t going to be having children.

    Comment by greg — February 23, 2011 @ 10:31 am

  9. Rebstock and co are indulging that nothing less than a 1920’s style eugenics, objectifying the poor as a separate, morally inferior untermenshen.

    And no, I don’t think the Nazi reference is to strong. This is a dangerous path to even contemplate walking down.

    Comment by Sanctuary — February 23, 2011 @ 10:34 am

  10. my fear is that the disaster down south is going to make this an excuse around “necessary savings to fund reconstruction” a viable political move in the short term.
    I don’t think so (god, let my faith in the goodness of my country remain) simply because the contrast yesterday of abrogation of social care in that report with the social response during/after the later earthquake was quite striking for me. The “invalids” are the people that just lost their legs in that quake. The mothers of 14-week-olds are the ones that were there for their kids to calm them, or in some awful cases lost them.

    That report was selfish individualism and an abrogation of decency in the social contract – something that suddenly seems all the more awful against the community needs and response in Christchurch.

    Comment by garethw — February 23, 2011 @ 10:40 am

  11. +1 with garethw

    I find the terminology unsettling. My brother is blind, and had worked part time at the local hospital, until made redundant because of technology (his job was outsourced to a machine). Since then his income is the sickness benefit – because he is blind. So is he now a ‘jobseeker’? For someone who really, at his age, could possibly find some part-time work but crikey, would need sophisticated holistic support. I sincerely doubt it. I worry for him.

    Comment by Chris — February 23, 2011 @ 11:02 am

  12. and we have sickness benefits so people like your brother don’t have to beg in the street, medieval-style.

    Comment by che tibby — February 23, 2011 @ 11:04 am

  13. And the inclusion of that graph in the report really speaks volumnes.

    a) inclusion of it by people who knew about the revolution indicates a disdain for it
    b) or alternatively, the report was written by people who were never affected by the revolution, which says much

    Comment by Chris — February 23, 2011 @ 11:05 am

  14. Wow, I see the incentives to be on a benefit really increased about a year ago, eh? If only we could figure out what persuaded all those extra people became “job seekers”.

    Comment by Stephen Judd — February 23, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

  15. Well, look – once upon a time the blind, amputees, lepers and suchlike easily found productive employment as beggars. They had the self-respect that comes with being self-employed, and taxpayers were able to rest assured their taxes weren’t just being handed out to Useless Mouths, but instead put to good use funding the govt’s expenses and military adventures. Wouldn’t it make a lot of sense to restore some of these lost traditions, for the good of society?

    Comment by Psycho Milt — February 23, 2011 @ 1:04 pm

  16. I just cannot get my head around why anyone would advocate forcing the parents of 3 yearolds out to work, let along those who have babies who are still only a few months old. It is actively punishing innocents in my opinion, and I just cannot see how that can be condoned.

    Comment by Theo Steel — February 23, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

  17. I’m going to politely disagree with you Theo on the 3 y/o comment. IF (and that’s a very big if) there’s only 1 child, AND the mother can earn even only marginally more than the costs of childcare then I (with my culturally blinding glasses on) can’t see any reason why someone should get money for staying at home and ‘doing nothing’.

    Supplement the income if needed – poverty sucks, but the act of working brings benefits (hah! did you see that) beyond the $.

    Comment by TBwood — February 23, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

  18. John Armstrong’s column today – “Report pulls punches” either indicates he is now so detached from reality in his political horse-racing bubble that words have ceased to have meaning beyond some sort of odd post-modernist politico-journal interpretation or the guy is just an idiot whose simplistc analysis has been mistaken as insight.

    Comment by Sanctuary — February 23, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

  19. gareth – i really, really hope you’re right.
    i agree with both you and chris that the outpouring of decency in the wake of the quake has been pretty much exhibit A of “the country we would like to live in”.

    i guess all we have to fight now is short memories.

    Comment by greg — February 23, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

  20. I just cannot get my head around why anyone would advocate forcing the parents of 3 yearolds out to work

    I think you’ll find the workforce includes a very large number of parents of 3-year-olds, Theo. Similarly large number of parents with 14-week-olds, come to that. Society is yet to collapse…

    Comment by Psycho Milt — February 23, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

  21. I think you’ll find the workforce includes a very large number of parents of 3-year-olds, Theo. Similarly large number of parents with 14-week-olds, come to that. Society is yet to collapse…

    I think there are really very few solo parents with 14 week old children who are in the workforce.

    Plenty of my co-workers are back at work with two year old children – but then again they’re members of two parent families working flexible hours and can afford the excellent day-care facilities the university provides for them. I think if you were on your own and earning minimum wage it’d be a whole different prospect.

    Comment by danylmc — February 23, 2011 @ 1:57 pm

  22. “… I (with my culturally blinding glasses on) can’t see any reason why someone should get money for staying at home and ‘doing nothing’.”

    A. it’s not ‘doing nothing’, but doing a very considerable something. B. children differ in their state of development and needs. Some will cope well or even do better in a good preschool environment, others will not.

    Comment by Stephen Judd — February 23, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

  23. we’re putting our two year-old into daycare here in central wellington. the cost is a staggering $240 *for three days*.

    many minimum-wage jobs would barely clear that in three shifts, and after tax. then there are things like rent, food, clothing. you know, those ‘other things’ kids need.

    there are cheaper options (i think barnados homecare is about $6 an hour?) – but that would leave about $3 after tax for every dollar you earn.

    Comment by che tibby — February 23, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

  24. (i think the economists call that a “disincentive”).

    Comment by che tibby — February 23, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

  25. GAH! stupid fingers.. “$3 after tax for every *hour you work*”

    apologies for filling comments stream with errors.

    Comment by che tibby — February 23, 2011 @ 2:42 pm

  26. I think there are really very few solo parents with 14 week old children who are in the workforce.

    Quite true, and for the reasons you point out. My problem is with the reason Theo is claiming: that it’s somehow “punishing the innocent” for a child not to have a parent at home looking after it. If that were true for children of solo parents, it would be just as true for children of couples, and there’s a shitload of those parents in the workforce. We get enough of this “child needs its mother at home” bullshit from Family First without putting up with it from the left as well.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — February 23, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

  27. che: My partner and I have been looking into Porse and Barnados recently for our 18 month-old. Porse carers set their own rates, typically around $8-12 per hour. Barnados carers are fixed at $5.90 per hour I believe, but we were told that our local carer ‘wouldn’t talk to you much’.

    Personally, I’d rather stay at home with my son than put him in care all day without a clue as to what he is doing.

    Comment by Simon Poole — February 23, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

  28. we sent ours to barnados at 9 months. he flourished.

    but now he’s needing a bigger, and more expensive, daycare.

    damn good thing the partner earns more than $12.75 p/h…

    Comment by che tibby — February 23, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

  29. I’m amused by the indignation of some at the suggestion that people who are unable to support themselves should probably not procreate until they’re in a slightly better position.

    Children born into a welfare dependant home are more likely to fit into the demographic that votes along certain lines* – Therefore I conclude this indignation arises from the potential loss of voter base, rather than any real concern at a perceived introduction of “state sactioned eugenics”

    * – Probably.

    Comment by Bed Rater — February 23, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

  30. Naw. That’s just family planning.

    It’s when such things are suggested as being incentivised by the state that it becomes just a little bit ghoulish. It ceases to be less choice, and more coercion.

    Comment by The PC Avenger — February 23, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

  31. …and Danyl…I think Godwinning in the title of a post has to be some sort of record.

    Comment by TBwood — February 23, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

  32. “my fear is that the disaster down south is going to make this an excuse around “necessary savings to fund reconstruction” a viable political move in the short term. Never mind that the flipside of chch is going to be more need for exactly what they’re making harder to get.”

    This is my fear as well (especially after reading The Shock Doctrine and reforms that got pushed through with Hurricane Katrina). Thankfully my house is not too badly hit and I come from a family who can support me, in addition to having some scholarship funding. However there are so many out there that will be hit not just by loss of building or business, but by the long term effects of damaged infrastructure, and the subsequent hit to almost every industry. Would those insisting that people on benefits are a bunch of lazy dependents still support the six month stipulation? I imagine they will argue that the Earthquake was not predictable or controllable. However, workers generally cannot predict or prepare for recessions either: why should they effectively be punished (especially those who have previously been working) because a small group of powerful gits halfway across the world made some selfish decisions? Or on a smaller scale, why should workers (especially workers who make barely enough to get by) who cannot control management decisions be punished when their bosses make misguided decisions, intended or otherwise?

    On a more general note, where is the outrage about people who have plenty of money (and don’t need more to cover their basic needs), to the extent where they can screw the system, pay fewer taxes than those much less fortunate than them, then have their children supported on student allowances?

    Comment by Zo Zhou — February 23, 2011 @ 4:34 pm

  33. @Bed Rater:

    a) you are a colossal, colossal asshole, even if you are trolling, and

    b) people who stay in that kind of demographic profile tend not to vote.

    Comment by helenalex — February 23, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

  34. Oh, and one of the reasons why they tend not to vote is probably that the best they’re likely to get is a government which doesn’t actively make their lives worse and then tell them it’s for their own good.

    Comment by helenalex — February 23, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

  35. Well helenalex, if he’s not trolling then he’s actually suggesting that the National Party will be actively tilting the voting demographic in their favour through coerced breeding patterns.
    Which would put De Lay’s changes to the Texas electoral districts into the shade really.

    Comment by garethw — February 23, 2011 @ 5:15 pm

  36. Helenalex: I don’t quite follow your explanation for not-voters, but the message “Stop spewing forth children while you don’t earn an income to support your current brood” seems pretty sensible to me.

    Comment by Bed Rater — February 23, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

  37. @Bed Rater.

    I hear this demented argument frequently on some discussion forums. It shows why we must be vigilant in ensuring that salt is iodised, as it is clear from your rants that cretinism is actually still a modern illness.

    Now Bed Rater, I want you to think for a moment. If politicians choose to give mothers the DPB to breed people to vote for them, how long will this take? 18 to 21 years (depending on the timing of elections). Seems terrible implausable. Can you name ONE Minister who was also a Minister 18 to 21 years previously (let alone a member of Cabinet). Finally, `degenerates’ tend not to vote as much as the well educated on high incomes. I presume that you do not vote Bed Rater.

    Comment by DT — February 23, 2011 @ 5:42 pm

  38. Che @ 23 “we’re putting our two year-old into daycare here in central wellington. the cost is a staggering $240 *for three days*.
    Dude, find a preschool that has gone with 20-free hours ece, perhaps not in central wellington, but somewhere like berhampore or Khandallah.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — February 23, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

  39. DT: I have saved that quip for future reference. Excellent work.

    Comment by Stephen Judd — February 23, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

  40. DT: I thought the footnote on my original comment made it fairly obvious that I’d drawn that assertion from dubious sources (i.e. my backside, probably, who knows, this is the internet after all) You are quite correct, no major political party in NZ (or AFAIK, the world) is that long-term in their strategy.

    However the main thrust of my argument remains. Yes, let’s protect the vulnerable, blah blah blah, but clearly someone who has a child, and no income, has a problem. And it’s not sensible to exacerbate that problem by popping out another sprog. The current working group report may reccomend what many see has a state incentive to stop having children, but that’s only the perception because there currently exists an incentive to have more children.

    Comment by Bed Rater — February 23, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

  41. @Bed Rater.

    For what it is worth, I don’t have a problem with making contraception free to those on a benefit. Those who claim that it is Eugenics are drawing far too long a bow. Personally, I don’t want to settle down and have a family until (if ever!) I am very well set up financially. Subsidising contraception for those on benefits can be seen as empowering them to choose when they have children, which they may not be able to do if contraception is unaffordable.

    I have a number of issues with the WWG Report. But I think that people like Idiot/Savant (, who claim that subsidised contraception is eugenics need to just chill out, and not look at the world through such a black and white, politicised lens all of the time. Remove the tinfoil hat I/S.

    Comment by DT — February 23, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

  42. In a general reply,
    1. There are also considerable benefits from a parent being able to stay home and look after their children
    2. Whether the mother or father is largely unimportant, but a parent at home is not bullshit. No society won’t collapse if we go out and work, but it might be a nicer place if more people put family and bringing up children before money (or had the choice to do so).
    3. I would maintain that any 14 week old who is in childcare, through choice of their parents or welfare policy, is being punished.

    Comment by Theo Steel — February 23, 2011 @ 7:30 pm

  43. 1. No doubt. Those with the income to cover it can feel free to indulge. Those without an income tend to find a narrower range of choices available in all kinds of areas.
    2. The welfare system isn’t there so people can do stuff that would be nice for them, it’s there so they don’t have to beg on the streets.
    3. There are very few 14-week-old participants in childcare, and the numbers are extremely unlikely to increase as a result of this exercise.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — February 23, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

  44. It seems to me that we will still need a sickness benefit so that all the members of this welfare working group can be put on it; sick as they must be.

    Comment by Andrew R — February 23, 2011 @ 8:09 pm

  45. The graph just shows that people go on the benefit when National is in power because they know how much they will support them and ensure that they are ok.

    Comment by Tim — February 23, 2011 @ 8:12 pm

  46. clunker @38. dude… he’s two. that 20 hour doesn’t kick in until a child is three. 10 months and counting.

    like i say. if the partner wasn’t earning well in excess of minimum wage she’d be at home going slowly nuts talking to a toddler all day.

    Comment by Che Tibby — February 23, 2011 @ 8:24 pm

  47. I’ve never seen that amount of response services/infrastructure mobilised in real life i.e. not on the telly.

    Comment by leon — February 23, 2011 @ 10:40 pm

  48. 3 or 4 hercules running out of CHCH plus the entire Air NZ fleet redeployed if the planes running standard passenger services were anything to go by i.e. all the old trainers/dungers were out in the air.

    I guess that NZ has never seen a deployment like this.

    Comment by leon — February 23, 2011 @ 10:42 pm

  49. sorry have posted on wrong thread somehow, should be on Christchurch thread.

    Comment by leon — February 23, 2011 @ 10:44 pm

  50. @ DT – Phil Goff! (technically, he is not a Minister now, but he was 21 years ago!). And of course, the argument is that governments benefit from the DPB mum voting for them for the cash-for-sprog, not wait for the actual sprog to vote.

    All irrelevant, as I reckon the WWG folks should be landed in Tripoli with ‘we heart Gaddafi’ t-shirts.

    But I do think some people are conflating ‘jobseeker’ with DPB recipient. The objection to more cash for kids on the DPB is that to be a recipient of the DPB, you aren’t supposed to be in a relationship, so no kids should be forthcoming. And taxpayers get shirty about paying for the outcomes (intended or not) of a DPB one-night-stand – it smacks of irresponsibility to be shagging around when you can’t feed your current kids.

    But tell a bloke with a missing or broken arm that he can’t have relations with the missus, in case a kid results and they lose their invalids/jobseekers benefit, and even ACT nutters start to mutter.

    I reckon National-ACT should immediately fully implement the WWG ideas (no cherry-picking JohnBoy), trialling it first in Christchurch. Followed by his election campaign lynch… whoops, launch.

    Comment by bob — February 24, 2011 @ 12:42 am

  51. Lets be positive. The term “job-seekers” implies that National understand people want to work. Now that this is understood, they might just start to think about where the jobs will come from. Laying people off in the public sector has not worked so far.

    Comment by Nick — February 24, 2011 @ 7:43 am

  52. Gee whiz, I wish someone would quote the facts occasionally: I hv seen the numbers of women on the DPB and those with more than two children, AND it is so low it would not be expressed in a whole number as a percentage.

    However, I know quite a few people on the Invalid’s Benefit, including one 20 year old female with Asperger’s and consequent literacy issues. She cannot get WINZ to subsidise travel costs to get her to a workplace to gain valid work experience to get a ‘real’ job. What will happen to her and the others I know who just do not get the real attention they need to get off a benefit??? She gets being sent to a polytech for useless courses which she cannot complete due to her literacy issues (her numeracy is okay).

    Another woman I know has serious health issues and cannot sit down for long, needs far too many drugs for them, and what will reducing her benefit achieve? What work can she do?

    These are the questions I want answers to.

    Comment by Spitfire — February 24, 2011 @ 7:55 am

  53. Laying people off in the public sector has not worked so far.

    Clearly we need to try laying more off. It must be just that the dose isn’t high enough.

    Comment by greg — February 24, 2011 @ 9:09 am

  54. It would be interesting to add Super to that graph.

    Comment by uke — February 24, 2011 @ 10:45 am

  55. It would also be interesting to see a similar graph showing total workforce by private / public sector over the same period

    Comment by Bed Rater — February 24, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

  56. When looking at ALL other countries, I notice NZ and OZ do not have the ‘3rd world class’ (or the population density) present elsewhere. This is due to our social welfare, for which we are borrowing. How long can this ‘fantasyland’ continue.

    Comment by Glen Atkinson — February 24, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

  57. “our social welfare, for which we are borrowing”

    weeeeellll… we could always stop all Working for Families payments, and raise the age of retirement to 68. you know, the two things that cost more than all other types of benefits combined.

    we could also stop subsidizing farmers to pollute via the ETS.

    that’d push us back into the black in a jiffy.

    Comment by che tibby — February 24, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

  58. stop cutting taxes?
    stop building unnecessary motorways?

    Comment by kahitakea — February 24, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

  59. We cannot logically just have one benefit, the Jobseekers Benefit, because not all people that curently receive a benefit can work, thus it being pointless in calling them Jobseekers when they are not, and therefore making it impractical to “lump us all together” into one benefit to “encourage us” to “actively seek employment.”

    People on benefits generally do not need or want to be patronized. What we need is a Government that will employ people on the front line in Work & Income offices and work themselves to ensure that the benefit system is fair. Currently the cracks in it, if they were to be analyzed thoroughly and compared with physical devastations, are considerably larger than the cracks in the roads in Christchurch caused by the latest “aftershock”.

    Those that legitimately need an invalids benefit should not be pressured to find work. My personal definition of “invalid” is that they are incapicitated severely in two or more ways (for example, someone with a mental deficiency who is also paralyzed, someone with a brain tumour who is also illiterate). These people should be getting an increase in their benefits.

    A sickness benefit should still exist. Reviewed every three months, primarily to assess any additional financial (WINZ) or emotional or medical (psychiatrist, physician) needs that this person may now feel they need to have, this benefit is semi-permanent in that it will take a minimum of 12 months to a maximum of three years before they can be transferred onto an Unemployment Benefit. This includes people such as cancer patients, etc.

    Domestic Purposes Benefit. This comes with a requirement that recipients must be avalable for work once their youngest child turns six. From now on, those that are on this benefit and have only one child can have another child at any time. Those that are on this benefit and have two or more children will be told that this benefits only applies to the first two children from now on and any more children will not affect the cancellation of this benefit once the second child turns six if the recipient refuses to look for work and tries to use subsequent children to justify her abstinence from work. Abortion, adoption, and a new fostering scheme should be suitable alternatives. There are many older couples in New Zealand that cannot have children of their own that woud be excellent adoptive or foster parents.

    New Zealand has the second-highest rate in the world of teenage pregnancies. Something needs to be done to illustrate to our young women that a house full of kids to avoid work is no longer acceptable or affordable in our sociey.

    Unemployment Benefit. Reviewed every six months in a casual and friendly manner, work-based training is provided and results in an extra $100 per week over the course of the scheme (usually 13 weeks or more per year) to be paid into the beneficiaries account. Another alternative to this benefit should be free tertairy education for a maximum of five years provided attendance and academic results are up to scratch. I will never be able to get over the fact that those whom are underprivileged are activated discouraged by the system to take up tertiary study. Yet, as soon as they get to prison (because they had to steal/sell weed/etc to top up their paltry benefit), they get free tertiary education in the prison.

    Comment by Betty Battenburg — February 24, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

  60. che @57: no, no, no – all the good things like giving Bob Jones superannuation, building roads to the beachhouse, and paying for the RWC are paid for from taxes. Bad stuff like social welfare for sick mothers is paid for from borrowing. There’s two bank accounts and everything.

    Comment by garethw — February 24, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

  61. what do you think is increasing the number of “invalid” beneficiaries? An aging population? Or more sophisticated medicine that keeps people alive who otherwise would have died. And what is the difference between a sickness and invalid’s benefit anyway?

    Comment by LucyJH — February 24, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

  62. @LucyJH # 61: About $60 – BOOM! Seriously though, Invalid’s benefit is permanently restricted or impaired from working. Sickness benefit is more for temporary impairment.

    Comment by DT — February 24, 2011 @ 7:38 pm

  63. the graph show how everything started to go wrong when our produce was excluded from Britian when they joined the Common Market – to to exacrerbated by the early 70s oil shocks – from which we have never recovered plus the loss of large numbers of working-age people overseas and hence the propotional increase in the no-working population.

    The problems have been there for over a generation. It hasn;t made a lot of difference wether Labour or Nationla have been in power.

    Comment by NeilM — February 24, 2011 @ 7:57 pm

  64. @garethw & Che: seconded. Or to put it succinctly, socialism for the rich. Watch ‘Inside Job’ at the nearest arthouse cinema while it lasts.

    It’s all ladder-kicking dressed up as fiscal restraint.

    Comment by DeepRed — February 25, 2011 @ 12:04 am

  65. We need to increase the age of superannuation as well, to 68 years. Putting it up to 70 years still seems a bit drastic and ruthless, so 68 looks like a good compromise to me. And it needs to be asset-based. You must use up the majority of your personal net worth before you qualify for it.

    Also we’ve gotten to the stage where our socialist country is no longer realistic or practical. The unemployment benefit should be for a maximum of 45 weeks per calender year. The other seven weeks, the beneficiaries will have to rely on their savings and/or help from friends and family.

    We need fresh changes all around. It’s unfair to focus on just the unemployed, the sick, or the solo mothers. Increase the age of superannuation and make it asset based, get rid of 70% of the courses that the Government currently funds (those that consist mostly of the ‘students’ getting stoned, or those courses that ‘roll over’ for two or three years so that the same beneficiairies do the exact same year-long course for two or three years in a row).

    Bring back free tertiary education. Make it for a maximum of five years, and increase student allowances.

    How can we afford all this? By our new regulations governing Government-funded superannuation, by cutting funding to the Arts, by trimming our expenditure in other areas.

    Comment by Betty — February 25, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

  66. Betty: if only there was some way a state could raise money from its citizens to pay for collective services.

    Comment by Stephen Judd — February 25, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

  67. @Betty: the retirement age is an elephant in the room that no-one can ignore, and every industrialised nation is having to face it.

    But I think the real issue here isn’t the retirement age per se, rather that one retirement age doesn’t fit all. It’d be a minor issue for anyone who can work a computer, balance a ledger, or design a satellite. However, it’s much more of an issue for manual workers, or any other occupation where health & safety are critical. For example, airline pilots are legally required to retire at 60 (or thereabouts) for that very reason.

    Anyone else see the inconsistency of the ladder-kicker brigade lecturing the have-nots for ‘not budgeting properly’, while at the same time looking down on them with a ‘whaddarya’ mentality for driving old Toyota Corollas by choice?

    Comment by DeepRed — February 25, 2011 @ 11:20 pm

  68. One retirement age can fit all. Those who are required to retire at 60 can obtain another job. Failure to do so would mean that, as under my system they cannot claim superannuation until 68 years, they will (unless they are willing to dip into their savings and/or sell their house) be accepted onto the unemployment benefit, meaning that they have to accept any suitable offer of employment.

    When they are 68, they can claim superannuation as ong as they do not own their own home, an investment portfolio, any other substantial assets (the law will be amended so they cannot put all their assets into a trust or other entity just for the sake of claiming superannuation).

    This may seem strict but a lot of older people are quite healthy these days. Thse who are not will qualify for the sickness benefit or the invalids benefit.

    I think these ideas provide a system where the retirement age of 68 fits all.

    Comment by Betty — February 28, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

  69. “When they are 68, they can claim superannuation as ong as they do not own their own home, an investment portfolio, any other substantial assets”
    I’m alright Jack, as my lawyer has already put all my stuff into a trust.
    Betty: “universal” HAS to mean universal or those of us with stuff, or a decent income, will just game the system. Idea FAIL if you ask me. Now, if it is compulsory super savings you want to talk about, then that’s a different conversation.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — February 28, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

  70. Forget any pension. we have to rebuild Christchurch.

    I am being very cynical in saying this. I do not like doing it.

    Just watch the election campaign.


    Comment by peterlepaysan — March 1, 2011 @ 9:25 pm

  71. Re: Your Title. The Nazis have already used “WORK MAKES YOU FREE”

    Comment by dave — October 22, 2011 @ 11:58 pm

  72. Well spotted.

    Comment by Sam F — October 25, 2011 @ 3:47 pm

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